Bitcoin surges to all-time high above $3000


Digital currency bitcoin hit a record high on Tuesday as demand for crypto-assets soared with the creation of new tokens to raise funding for start-ups using blockchain technology.

Blockchain, the underlying technology behind bitcoin, is a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset wthout the need for a central regulator

Bitcoin hit a record $1,760.40 BTC=BTSP on the BitStamp platform and was last at $1,747.89, up 6 percent on the day. So far this year, bitcoin has surged nearly 80 percent. Bitcoin's market capitalization on Tuesday soared to $52.5 billion, according to data from

Aside from being an asset that can be traded on exchanges like stocks and bonds, bitcoin has become a mode of payment for some retailers, such as, and a way to transfer funds without the need for a third party.

"We have an influx of new capital in the space and that capital goes back and forth among crypto-assets and bitcoin," said Chris Burniske, blockchain products leader at ARK Invest in New York, which manages exchange-traded funds.

"Bitcoin is still the main liquidity provider in the market and people use it to buy other crypto-assets."

That said, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari has been skeptical about bitcoin's outlook, noting that blockchain has more potential for being adopted in the future than the digital currency itself.

"I think sentiment has shifted in the markets, in the Fed," Kashkari said at a technology conference in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Still, a big part of bitcoin's recent surge is the increase in demand for other digital currencies being sold in so-called "initial coin offerings," or ICOs. Under ICOs, blockchain start-ups sell their tokens directly to the public to raise capital without any regulatory oversight.

At least 40 start-ups have launched an ICO this year, according Smith + Crown data.

"For the first time in financial history, founders can access capital from both large and small investors armed with nothing more than a slick website," said Arthur Hayes, chief executive at crypto-currency derivatives trading platform BitMEX.

Analysts say the foundation for bitcoin's gains was set last July in a process called "halving," in which rewards offered to bitcoin miners shrink. That has constrained bitcoin's supply.

Bitcoin relies on so-called "mining" computers that validate blocks of transactions by competing to solve mathematical puzzles every 10 minutes. In return, the first to solve the puzzle and clear the transaction is rewarded with new bitcoins.

Bitcoin hits $1,600 for the first time and one investor says it could rally to $4,000 in a few months


Bitcoin is "fully valued" and could see a pullback in the short term after hitting $1,600 for the first time on Monday, according to one investor, but the price could go as high as $4,000 over the next 14 months.

The cryptocurrency has been on an upward move since April and was trading around $1,575.52 by early afternoon trading in London after hitting an all-time high $1,601.05 during morning trade, according to the Coindesk bitcoin price index.

In the last 30 days, bitcoin has risen over 33 percent.

Negative bitcoin news

The rally may seem perplexing given that there have been a number of setbacks for the cryptocurrency.

These include:

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deciding to reject a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. This is now under review however. An ETF would have given further credibility to bitcoin and helped more institutional investors get involved.
  • A fierce debate over the future of bitcoin's structure. The full explanation can be read here.
  • Issues with some exchanges, particularly Bitfinex, which cut off their access to the banking system meaning customers couldn't make withdrawals in fiat currency.

So why the rally?

At the same time, there have been some positive developments.

Firstly, Japan legalized the cryptocurrency as a payment method recently and this has led to a greater amount of bitcoin being bought with yen, according to Aurelien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain assets exchange based in Hong Kong.

The second reason could be to do with a change in the code of another cryptocurrency called litecoin.

What happened with litecoin and why does it matter to bitcoin?

Last month, there was a change in the code behind the technology that underpins litecoin. It is known as Segregated Witness (SegWit) and it allows the speed of transactions using the cryptocurrency to increase.

This has given hope that bitcoin could see a similar thing.

Fork debate recap

To understand the issue, it's key to look at how bitcoin transactions are processed. Transactions by users are gathered into "blocks" which is turned into a complex math solution. So-called miners, using high-powered computers work these solutions out to determine if the transaction is possible. Once other miners also check the puzzle is correct, the transactions are approved and the miners are rewarded in bitcoin.

But there is a big backlog in transactions and the speed at which these are processed is slowing. That's because the rules of bitcoin only allow a certain amount of transactions through in one block.

In mid-March, the price of bitcoin saw a big drop because the community was afraid of a so-called "hard fork" which could have led to two blockchains forming, and therefore two separate cryptocurrencies.

But the example of litecoin shows that a so-called "soft fork" can happen which would increase the block size for bitcoin without major disruption.

"That example of a successful soft fork in litecoin has made people start to think that we could get a successful SegWit implementation in bitcoin and that could increase capacity and move us to the next level," Daniel Masters, director at Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund (GABI), told CNBC by phone.

GABI is an investment fund that is listed on The International Stock Exchange on the Channel Islands.

And what does this mean for price?

While bitcoin has seen a recent rally, previous peaks have seen sharp pullbacks in prices. Masters said the price rise has been "violent in the short-term" with bitcoin "fully valued for the moment". This could lead to a pullback to around $1,100.

However, the long-term outlook remains strong.

"In the 8- to 14-month horizon, my forecast would be around $4,000," Masters told CNBC.

Others also expect high prices. Gatecoin's Menant said prices should climb beyond $3,000 this year.

Bitcoin Price Passes $1,400 to Hit Highest Value in History


The price of bitcoin rose above $1,400 today, setting a new all-time high.

At press time, the cryptocurrency's price had climbed to as much as $1,407.05, a 4.4% increase for the day, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

This latest price increase builds upon the gains that the cryptocurrency has experienced over the last several sessions – during which markets have repeatedly risen to new highs – and that have effectively rekindled bitcoin's early 2017 momentum. It also comes as prices in ether markets (the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network) rose to new all-time highs as well this morning.

After spiking to new highs in January, the cryptocurrency's price languished for several weeks in March after the SEC rejected the bitcoin exchange-traded fund proposed by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. While bitcoin prices hit $1,325.81 in the hours before the ruling, they went on to fall below $900 later that month, according to the BPI.

After bottoming out at $891.51 on 25th March, the cryptocurrency's price resumed its upward climb, rising to fresh highs of $1,335.56 on 27th April, $1,343.59 on 28th April and $1,348.65 on 30th April.

Bitcoin prices are currently averaging $1,402.03, according to data from the BPI.

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